Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme: Adaptive Reuse

The restoration of historic sites and monuments and their adaptation for community and cultural uses can be seen as a keystone to the successful urban rehabilitation of historic settlements. Steps in this process are the definition of stakeholder needs, the interface between conservation and sustainable community re-use, and the training requisite to carry out the programmes. A first question is why adaptive re-use is relevant in the effort to preserve historic areas. It is in this light that the Historic Cities Programme (HCP) approach and practice can be best understood, particularly with regard to the choice of a functional program and its philosophy of intervention. HCPs approach with respect to the re-use of historic buildings has developed as a result of involvement in preservation planning and conservation projects since its inception. The question of what to do with deteriorating, underused, sub-standard or vacant historic buildings emerges again and again. There can be no doubt that this is one of the most pressing issues in decaying historic areas throughout the world, and certainly no less so in the context of Islamic cities.

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